The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) has ordered the closure of the Indian Islahi Islamic School in Abu Dhabi, effective April 1, 2014, as part of its clampdown on villa schools or schools run on designated residential plots. The ADEC started the clampdown for avowed safety reasons in 2008 when there were 72 such schools.
Parents and students of the latest school to come on the school regulator's radar are now a worried lot, according to media here. "We're panicking because we don't know what to do...we all have to rush now and most schools are full, so it's very difficult on us," The National daily newspaper quoted Shenooja Niazudeen, a mother of two, as saying.
John Joseph, father of a 16-year-old boy who attended the school for just one term, expressed shock at the sudden notice. "I'm really not happy about this because I paid next term's fee Wednesday and got the notice Thursday," he said. Joseph, however, has managed to find a seat for his son in another school at a place that is outside of Abu Dhabi.
"I managed to find him a seat at the Sunrise English Private School in Mussaffah, but I pay 2,800 dirhams ($762) a term here and 4,600 dirhams there," Joseph told the newspaper. According to the report, some students have already left the school and the school has started issuing transfer certificates to the pupils.
ADEC, in its notice, has also provided to parents a list of private schools in Abu Dhabi with curricula, locations and contact details. The Indian embassy in the UAE too has decided to help the pupils, a top Indian diplomat was quoted as saying by the Gulf News. Indian Ambassador to the UAE M.K. Lokesh said the embassy would adopt a two-pronged strategy to help pupils.
Steps would be taken to expedite the construction of a new branch of the Abu Dhabi Indian School in order to accommodate the pupils displaced by the closure. The embassy will also approach UAE authorities to find other possible solutions. "As soon as the news of the school closure surfaced, I spoke to the management of the Abu Dhabi Indian School (ADIS) and asked them to expedite the construction of the new branch," said Lokesh after a meeting with parents of pupils.
He added that if expedited, the school can be completed by the start of the 2014-2015 academic year, and accommodate more than 2,000 pupils. The ambassador said that land has already been allocated for the second branch of the ADIS, and all necessary approvals for the school have been received. He said he would take it up once again with the ADIS governing body.